Friday, 20 April 2018

high crimes and misdemeanors


A committed flâneur myself, I appreciated the invitation from Calvert Journal correspondent Daryl Mersom to take a wander through the different quarters of Tbilisi to marvel at the contrasting and complementary styles of the city’s cultural influences, with the conviction that architecture is not best experienced with an itinerary or by a windshield tour but rather by walking.
From the Old Georgian for a “warm place,” the city was founded in the fourth century BC around a sulphurous thermal spring, an area referred to as Abanotubani, and the settlement has since been at the crossroads of successive civilisations, often in competition over the territory due to its strategic location, and these waves of influence have let their marks and have informed a rather vibrant cosmopolitan capital.
The iconic Wedding Palace designed by Victor Djorbenadze in 1984, purpose built as a matrimonial venue but now a private residence that can be rented out for special events and the 1975 Ministry of Transportation (now the headquarters of the national bank) by Zurab Jalaghania and George Chakhava were not directly included on the meandering path but are alluded to as component parts of the city’s architectural character.  One encounters a rich mixture of Byzantine, Soviet Modern, Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical styles and there’s a certain allure to this panorama that we would like to see in person.


revamp: the classic Vespa (previously) reincarnated as an electric vehicle whose dash console is one’s mobile phone, via the always splendid Nag on the Lake

white noise: a multimedia appreciation of the pioneering electronic composer and sound archivist Delia Derbyshire, who also created the opening theme music for Doctor Who

peafowl: an Australian community is divided over whether the urbanised birds are a nuisance or nice to have around

electroconvulsive shock: a FOIA filing includes an unexpected manual on the use of “psycho-electronic weapons,” via Boing Boing

exonym: in order to disburden itself of its past as a British colony—and possibly reduce confusion with Switzerland—Swaziland will return to its precolonial identity of eSwatini 

flóttamaður: still at large, the suspected ring leader behind the mass theft of computers for bitcoin mining in Iceland escapes prison and flees to Sweden on the same flight that carried the Prime Minister

a state in new england: making the Massachusetts oath of office more concise and assorted other constitutional conventions

subliminal education: an educational material publishing house (previously) conducted a massive experiment in classrooms across the US to test the efficacy of its new material without disclosing the “interventions” (previously) to any of the unwitting students and teachers, via Marginal Revolution

walled garden

Prior to learning about this breaking development thanks to Super Punch, I was mulling the notion of reinstating part of PfRC’s and my personal media presence once the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect, but the company’s surprise decision to repatriate its Ireland-based international operations means that the new law will have magnitudes fewer beneficiaries.
The four hundred million or so EU-area residents that are creators and consumers of digital content will be covered, and had the headquarters remained in Ireland and under EU jurisdiction so would the rest of the global population of over a billion and a half users whose activities are banked there, with the exception of North American records which are stored in California. With only Europe cordoned-off, all other data from accounts around the world will migrate to servers in the US and the company will have far greater latitude in what it does with people’s history and demographics. What do you think? Though we are glad to be afforded at least a measure of protection and control (maybe, hopefully a meaningful one), it seems like a real jerk move on the company’s part to deprive the rest of the world by centralising its clearinghouses and now I don’t think in good conscience reanimate my account. What we let this company get away with informs how all other stewards of privacy and truth behave going forward.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

frühling in wiesbaden

The weather today was splendid and enjoyed the vast park between the Bahnhof and the newly remodeled Rhein-Main Conference Centre (Congress-Zentrum) across from the city’s venerable art and natural history museum.